Opinion: Until the Six-Day-War, the role of the military was unquestionably to protect Israel’s citizens and borders, but since the occupation, it has become a militaristic arm of a political situation and a source of division not harmony

IDF troops during basic training
IDF troops during basic training


The recent revelation that over the past decade, one in three young Israeli Jews evaded military service, highlights the decline in motivation to join IDF combat units and a rise in the number of soldiers dropping out in mid-service.

This is good news for the enemies of Israel, specifically, the leader of the Iran–backed Hezbollah terror group, Hassan Nasrallah, who said long before these statistics were revealed that Israeli society was weakened by the concern for the lives of its soldiers and civilians.

“It [Israel] has a nuclear weapon and the strongest air force in the region, but in truth, it is weaker than a spider web,” the Shi’ite cleric said in an interview in the year 2000, referring to a “reverence for human life and the hedonistic nature of Israeli society making it weak and unable to sustain continued war and bloodshed.”

IDF officials have been mulling a range of ways to deal with these numbers, some suggesting more monetary perks for combat soldiers upon their honorable discharge from service while others suggesting better incentives and preparation for high school seniors before they enlist.

Either way, this is not strictly the problem of the IDF, it is an indication of Israeli society and how it views the mandatory service.

To borrow a military term, this is a battle to be won on two separate fronts: On one hand, for what principles are Israelis being killed, and on the other, to what extent are Israelis being asked to finance those who choose Torah studies over military service.

טקס סיום קורס קצינים בה"ד 1 קק"ץ מחזור 55 אביב כוכבי
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi greets new graduates of officer training (Photo: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)


Military competence requires national cohesion – they simply cannot be separated.

Until the Six-Day War – indeed, until the beginning of the occupation – service in the military was an obvious choice.

The collective feeling Israelis share of siege mentality, constant danger, the knowledge that by serving they are protecting their homes and families as well as their own lives, all contribute to unquestionable motivation.

But since the 1967 war, Israelis are no longer required to defend their country alone. They must now first and foremost defend the “State of Judea and Samaria.”

ארכיון התנחלות עפרה
IDF troops on the outskirts of the settlement of Ofra (Photo: EPA)


The job of the IDF is no longer to defend civilian communities along the borders or Israel’s frontiers; the military is now tasked with defending settlements and illegal outposts, as soldiers no longer train for war or maintaining a state of preparedness.

A military force that for decades has been tasked with ruling and policing another people cannot maintain the level of preparedness needed to fight a war.

After 50 years of military control over the territories, the IDF had become a militaristic solution to a political problem.

The ultra-Orthodox men who dodge the draft are a secondary problem. Their participation in the workforce is more important than their participation in the fighting forces.

הפגנת החרדים נגד מעצר תלמיד הישיבה שסרב להתגייס
Ultra-Orthodox men protest the arrest of one of their own after he refused to enlist in the military (Photo: Israel Police)


They should be incentivized to work and not paid to avoid military service; they must be given a proper education in math, science and English despite their rabbis’ objections.

Two months ago, at a rally in support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaker Erez Tadmor, who previously served as Likud spokesman and Netanyahu’s speechwriter and now is a Likud candidate for the Knesset, claimed leftists no longer serve in combat units.

This is, of course, ignorant nonsense coming from a man whose military service can only be described as a criminal endeavor. He was found guilty of stealing weapons and ammunition, was demoted and locked up in military prison.

The highest numbers of youth volunteering to serve in combat units are still found in cities in central Israel with a left and center political profile of voters.

On the eve of elections, there were those trying to sell Israelis on the claim that the last decade has been the best in the annals of the country.

The numbers show just the opposite: Over the past decade, the strategic threat has escalated, brain drain has accelerated, foreign passport applications have increased, scientific research has deteriorated, the health system is on life support, and there has been a dramatic increase the numbers of those dodging the draft.

The need for a strong and solid army is supposed to cut across the political spectrum, and not exist for the personal benefit of a man indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

As reported by Ynetnews